Tuesday, January 22, 2013

GUEST BLOG - What Can Doctors Do to Combat Business Malfeasance in Health Care?

Dr Gene Dorio is a an internist and geriatrician in California, described in the Los Angeles Times as an "old school physician."  He would welcome discussion with anyone interested in his proposal.  Please email him directly at grd51 at aol dot com, or email me for forwarding.    

As a Health Care Renewal reader, learning of medical business malfeasance irritates my moral conscience, yet lack of legal intervention frustrates my inner core.

I am chairman of the Department of Medicine at a small community hospital in Southern California, and as I battle the Administration during Medical Executive Committee meetings, I am a lone voice. Some of my colleagues nod their heads, while others later tell me of their support, but few vocally nor in writing openly give their opinion. Why?

Most fear hospital financial retaliation, but I also know they don’t have time to formulate an opinion. You would think well-educated doctors who daily advocate on behalf of patients would be better attuned to being involved in our great medical debate. Because they have remained silent, “big business” jumped in and took over financial medical decision-making.

Using our medical license is the business scheme they use to make their money. With sophisticated business techniques, they have shut out doctors and dangled dollars as we all jump for their “carrots.” That successful business model and attitude is outside the realm of doctor’s poor business and public relations sense, with the noose continually tightening.

Realizing business would be nowhere without our medical license is our trump card...which we haven’t played yet!

What can we do? Logically, bring their business malfeasance forward on blogs (like Health Care Renewal) with the hope physicians and the public will be upset. It does stir the pot for some of our colleagues, but for the most part, doctor attention is now focused on just trying to survive. The public is rendered helpless by the continually confusing medical legalese by the well-financed business propaganda machine. This is where our frustration arises, as the backlash-opinion tsunami of their business outrage never materializes, especially from doctors.

Therefore, my first thought for a possible solution is focus on the public, clarifying the legalese, and use abhorrent stories of business abuse and patient care sacrifice for business profit. We must make them the villain.

Secondly, organize physician writers into a small group launching a “counter offensive” against their propaganda. The public still highly respect physicians and gravitates to their opinions and stories. With the right motivated people, they would think-tank refined opinions for the national spotlight.

Thirdly, network with national blogs and magazines, and city-printed newspapers for article publication as op-eds, letters to the editors, journal articles, and personal stories.

Fourthly, and probably the hardest, not get discouraged.

Health Care Renewal defines the problem, but not always the solution. Even when there might be solutions, they must be broadcast and directed at a higher level to ignite public opinion.

If you think this might be worthy for 2013 (as if we aren’t all busy enough!), I will be happy to spearhead this project with those advocate colleagues and idealists who might be interested.

Our profession is under assault from big business, and finding clarity is the shield we need to defend society and our patients.

Dr Gene Dorio

1 comment:

Afraid said...

Is abdication of responsibility absolution?

When we say that the people who violated public trust (and the law) should be prosecuted, should we also not say

"Physician, heal thy profession."